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Shrubs to Use as Groundcovers

manzanita groundcover
Pink Kinnikinnik alos called bearberry is a low growing Arctostaphylos

Groundcover plants are used to cover the ground and to conceal all signs of soil beneath. Groundcovers can be used to smother weeds, act as a living mulch to conserve soil moisture and to hold in place, and stem soil erosion.

Low-growing shrubs can be used as groundcovers. Most are deep-rooted and longer lived than perennials used as groundcovers. Once established low-growing shrub groundcovers will likely require less maintenance than herbaceous perennial groundcovers.

Pachysandra bushes as groundcover in shaded areas

Here are shrubs well-suited to act as groundcovers:

Common NameBotanical NameZones
BearberryArctostaphylos uva-ursi2-7
Blackberry, prostrateRubus pentalobus7-9
Blueberry, lowbushVaccinium angustifolium4-9
BunchberryCornus canadensis2-7
CandytuftIberis sempervirens4-8
Cotoneaster, bearberryCotoneaster, dammeri6-9
Cotoneaster, cranberryCotoneaster apiculata5-8
Euonymus, wintercreeperEuonymus fortunei4-8
HeathErica carnea5-7
HeatherCalluna vulgaris3-8
HoneysuckleLonicera pileata5-9
Japanese spurgePachysandra terminalis4-8
Junipers, low spreadingJuniperus spp.3-9
LantanaLantana spp.8-10
Mahonia, creepingMahonia repens5-8
Purple-leaf winter creeperEuonymus fortunei‘Coloratus5-9
Roses, low spreadingRosa spp.Varies
St. JohnswortHypericum calycinum5-9

Also of interest:

Groundcovers in Garden Design

Summer perennial border

Perennials and Their Seasons

Hardy, Half-Hardy, and Tender Flowering Plants